Welcome to Texas…a postscript

Texas FlagOn behalf of my friend Blair, I want to say thanks for all the friendly help you offered to make his adjustment to a new land a little easier.  I’m pretty sure his load is a little lighter today.

Here are some closing thoughts…

I really appreciated the humor and the good-natured poking that went on, but there’s always a risk when the door is opened for people to be comedians at the expense of others.  There’s a proverb that speaks to the fine line we walk when we try to be funny:

Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”  Proverbs 26:18-19

Unfortunately, that’s a verse I ignore pretty often.  I like to joke and play and poke fun and be sarcastic in a friendly way.  But, at times, my humor (or at least my attempt at it) has gone too far and  hurt people.  I know it’s true because they have told me.  The lesson here?  Just because you have thick skin, doesn’t mean others do.  Innocent intentions can still do damage.

The past few days, we have poked fun at Texas driving, food, vernacular, dress, sports and a whole lot more and I only walked down this road because I trusted you guys as friends.

The very first and most important rule of mission work is to deeply and honestly respect and honor the people, customs, values, and practices of any foreign land you find yourself in.  I am…and forever will be…an outsider, a transplant, a pilgrim who wandered into Texas eighteen years ago, from my homeland of California.  So many things were new…different from what I was accustomed to.

But just because something is different, it doesn’t make it better…or worse.

Texas is my new home…but I will always be from California.  That will never change.  Nor do I want it to.  I have heard many people be horribly judgmental about the people and customs of Texas.  This is always wrong. My hope is that my joking or teasing will never be perceived as underhanded statements of superiority or condescension.  People here…my friends here…don’t deserve that.  Nobody does.

I have had some really rude things said about me and my homeland.  I’ve been told to take my customs and values and ethics back to California…always with a smile…but always with a smug seriousness just underneath the chuckle.  But those people are a hurtful minority that I totally discount.  I’m sure my Texas friends have had to make the same kinds of decisions about those whose joking crosses the line.  I’m sorry it has to be that way.

My life is better and fuller and richer because I have moved to Texas.  I have met some of the finest and most genuinely good people to ever walk through my life.  The differences we share have only served to broaden my perspectives and give me a deeper appreciation of the diversity that can and does exist in the world today…especially in the body of Christ.

And I would hope that people would have the same attitude and appreciation for the uniqueness and diversity found in my home state of California…if they had the privilege of sharing life with the good people there.

I don’t agree with everybody here in the Great State.  I have different values and ideologies.  I have different taste buds and driving habits and vocabulary and musical tastes.  But agreement is not necessary for respect and trust.  Only love is.   So get busy loving each other!

One final instruction for Blair that I heard today at our Memorial Day picnic:  Texans don’t use their turn signals when they drive.  Especially when they change lanes or merge on to the highway.  To me, it always feels like it’s an open invitation for the person behind you to speed up and win the race.  Gary had a different take… “For Texans, using a turn signal is sign of weakness.”

Nice.

Have a great week.

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4 thoughts on “Welcome to Texas…a postscript

  1. Good Evening Mike…I have been praying Blair’s transition is and easy one for him and his family…below Ihave posted a few things every person who lives in Texas should know….The State Song…The 10 Commandments of Texas and some amazing facts abouit Texas…All listed below…hope you both enjoy and it helps Blair adjust to Texas.

    The state song is “Texas, Our Texas” by William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright. The lyrics are:

    Texas, our Texas! All hail the mighty State!
    Texas, our Texas! So wonderful so great!
    Boldest and grandest, Withstanding ev’ry test;
    O Empire wide and glorious, You stand supremely blest.

    [Refrain] God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
    That you may grow in power and worth, Thro’out the ages long.

    Texas, O Texas! Your freeborn single star,
    Sends out its radiance to nations near and far.
    Emblem of freedom! It sets our hearts aglow,
    With thoughts of San Jacinto and glorious Alamo.

    [Refrain]

    Texas, dear Texas! From tyrant grip now free,
    Shines forth in splendor your star of destiny!
    Mother of heroes! We come your children true,
    Proclaiming our allegiance, our faith, our love for you.

    [Refrain]

    When the state flag is displayed during a performance of “Texas, Our Texas”, all individuals present, except those in uniform, should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Individuals in uniform should salute at the first note of the song, and retain this position until the last note. Individuals who are wearing a headdress that is easily removeable should remove it with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, with the hand over the heart. Individuals who are not citizens of Texas should simply stand at attention.

    If the state flag is not displayed during a performance of the song, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner as they would if the flag were displayed there.

    If both are to be performed, the state song is played after the national anthem.

    The Legislature adopted “Texas, Our Texas” as the state song in 1929 (Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 6, 41st Legislature, First Called Session). According to the Handbook of Texas Online, one revision has been made to the state song since its adoption. In 1959, following Alaska statehood, the word “Largest” in the third line was changed by William J. Marsh to “Boldest.”

    Administration of the copyright has been assigned to the Southern Music Company by the families of the composers. Questions concerning the copyright should be sent to Southern Music Company, PO Box 329, San Antonio, TX 78292.

    The text of the current law, Chapter 3101, Section 3101.005 of the Texas Government Code, is available to be viewed online.

    The Cowboy’s Ten Commandments

    (1) Just one God.
    (2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
    (3) No tellin’ tales or gossipin’.
    (4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin’.
    (5) Put nothin’ before God.
    (6) No foolin’ around with another fellow’s gal.
    (7) No killin.’
    (8) Watch yer mouth.
    (9) Don’t take what ain’t yers.
    (10) Don’t be hankerin’ for yer buddy’s stuff.

    Amazing Texas Facts

    Our state is big, it’s wide, and it’s weird. Put those things together and you have a list of some amazing things about Texas.

    Beaumont to El Paso: 742 miles, Beaumont to Chicago: 770 miles
    El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas
    World’s first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.
    The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston.
    Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.
    Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America’s only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
    The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900, caused by a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island
    The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was “Houston…”
    King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.
    Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43″ in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979.
    A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
    Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
    Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper.
    Dublin, TX has the oldest and only Dr Pepper bottling company that is still working and producing the original Dr Pepper.
    Texas has had six capital cities: Washington-on-the Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia and Austin
    The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).
    The name “Texas” comes from the Hasini Indian word “tejas” meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas .
    The State Mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).
    The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston
    Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.
    More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.
    Texas boasts the nation’s largest herd of whitetail deer.
    The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.
    In 1836 five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas: Washington-on-the-Brazos: Harrisburg: Galveston: Velasco: and Columbia. Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839 the capital was moved to the new town of Austin.
    Texas’ largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.
    Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States: Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
    El Paso is closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas.
    Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation’s total area.
    More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.
    The state’s cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.
    More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.
    Laredo is the world’s largest inland port.
    The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world’s largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.
    Amarillo has the world’s largest helium well.
    The San Jacinto Monument in LaPorte, TX is listed as the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world, 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

  2. As followers of Jesus, it doesn’t matter where we are “from”. Most people love their home states and there’s nothing wrong with that. I know I love mine. But as Paul so clearly stated, our citizenship is in heaven. Not in Texas. Not in California. Not in the USA. Being unloving toward someone because of where they grew up and what they call home is just ridiculous and so unlike Jesus. We’re all a part of the same family living on different parts of the globe.

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